Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday, December 10th Nehemiah 3

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Amos 3-4; Revelation 8
Today's scripture focus is Nehemiah 3

Nehemiah 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Rebuilding the Wall

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.
The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired.And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.
Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River. Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.
13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.
14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, ruler of the district of Beth-haccherem, repairedthe Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.
15 And Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He rebuilt it and covered it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king's garden, as far asthe stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool, and as far as the house of the mighty men. 17 After him the Levites repaired: Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, repaired for his district.18 After him their brothers repaired: Bavvai the son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah. 19 Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the buttress.20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai repaired another section from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After himMeremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 After him the priests, the men of the surrounding area, repaired. 23 After them Benjamin and Hasshub repaired opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah repaired beside his own house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress 25 and to the corner. Palal the son of Uzai repaired opposite the buttress and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. 27 After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.
28 Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house.29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired.30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite his chamber. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper chamber of the corner. 32 And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired.

Accompanying Ray Stedman sermon: Don't Be Paralyzed - Get Organized

One simple takeover from this passage is that we, as a body of believers, need each other.  Can you imagine how long it would've taken Nehemiah to rebuild the walls by himself?  No, everyone worked together - including laypeople, priests, rulers, and women (note that the few shirkers were also mentioned by name - I don't want to be on that list!).  All of the workers were volunteers who did their assigned tasks, and sometimes more.

Similarly, God has placed each of us where we are for a purpose.  No matter where we are, no matter what our jobs are, no matter what are marital or economic status, we are to live our lives faithfully where God has placed us.

We saw at the end of Chapter 2 that Nehemiah faced opposition.  This is something that we, as believers, need to expect and be prepared to deal with.  We will face opposition - of course we will!  That opposition is often purposefully place there by God for our good.  Can you imagine if you played hockey without an opponent?  What would be the point of that?  How would you ever improve?  How would you ever dig deep and go hard, with any opposition?  Similarly, experiencing opposition encourages us to rely on God and dig deep.

I found Stedman's words about the gates to be very interesting as well.  All of the names of the gates are symbols that are used elsewhere in Scripture.  Here are some of his thoughts....

Sheep gate - sheep is a symbol of sacrifice and a reminder that we have given Christ control of our lives, and our desires come second to His desires for our life.

The fish gate reminds us that we are to be fishers of men.

The Jeshanah Gate is the Old Gate, reminding us to stay with the old, timeless truths of God and not fall for new false teachings.

The Valley Gate represents humility.

The Dung Gate reminds us that we need to eliminate the rubbish or sin from our lives.

The Fountain Gate represents the spirit-filled life, made possible once we are washed clean of the rubbish from the previous gate.

The Water Gate is a symbol of the Word of God - this gate did not need repair, just like the Word of God is indestructible.

The Horse Gate reminds us that we are on a spiritual battlefield and need to be ready for warfare.

The East Gate faced the sun and was a symbol of hope.

The Inspection Gate reminds us that judgment is coming, and as believers, rewards to faithful service.

Stedman: Then at the end of the chapter we come again to the Sheep Gate, where we began. The Sheep Gate stands for the cross and the cross must be at the beginning and at the end of our lives. Undergirding everything is this principle, out of death comes life. Out of the subjection of our natural desires to the will of God comes the life of God filling us full and blessing our hearts....

Isn't this wonderful teaching in this book of Nehemiah? As we compass the walls of Jerusalem, each gate instructs us of the part of our life which needs to be watched, and rebuilt, and repaired. You may find some areas that need repair as you look at your own life today. This is what Nehemiah (and Peter) call us to do: to repair these gates and help ourselves become all that God intended us to be.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Nehemiah 4
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Amos 5-6, Revelation 9

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